GLOBE columnist Peter Grant meets an actress with a name to remember who is coming to Liverpool in a stunning new adaptation of the novel Heart of Darkness.

WHEN the drama teacher asked if she had thought of changing her name - one actress said a defiant 'no.'

Well, wouldn't you if you were born Morven Macbeth?

I caught up with Morven (for the sake of superstition I won't mention her surname again) in Glasgow where she has been teaching a class with her theatre company Imitating The Dog.

The well-respected theatrical innovators are coming to Liverpool Playhouse in May with a stunning adaptation of Joseph Conrad's prophetic Heart Of Darkness.

It will be the company's first visit to Liverpool.

And it promises to be a mould-breaking visit with a drama debut with a decided state-of-the art difference.

Morven agrees that this is no ordinary Heart of Darkness.

"The reaction has been great so far on the road," she quotes critics who have been suitably impressed to say it is a challenging reconstruction of Conrad not only 'fearless' but it will have people shifting uncomfortably in their seats.

"So we are getting the reaction we set out to achieve."

Morven, who was born and brought up in the highlands of Scotland, believes this visually powerful version will appeal to those who know the book and for those coming to the complex work for the first time.

She said: "This 19th century novel is being brought into the 21st Century through what we call cutting edge digital theatre.

"It is our take on a modern classic - a tale of discovery, fear, lies and greed.

"I do believe Conrad was ahead of his time."

Written amid the optimism at the end of the 19th century the Ukrainian author's book explores the journey of its narrator - the mariner Charles Marlowe - travelling up the Congo River into the heart of the African continent.

Morven, who graduated from the Academy Drama School in London in 2002, told the Globe: "We re-tell it as a journey of a black woman through war-torn Europe.

"We explore a forsaken landscape lost to the destructive lust for power. It is a take absolutely for our time."

Morven says the ITG adaptation looks at race, gender and themes of exploitation, violence and the realities of imperialism.

- a modern pay parable.

She adds the production is very relevant now.

"Britain's colonial past seems to be being held up as a golden era and at a time when our relationship to Europe is being severely tested."

Imitating the Dog have been making ground-breaking work for theatres and other spaces for more than 20 years.

Morven is looking forward to playing Liverpool with its reputation for welcoming innovative companies.

She said: "We are all very happy that at last we have managed to get there for the first time with performances next week."

And it will also give the actress who is enjoying a successful career on stage TV, film, voiceover with quality time to chill out with relatives in South Liverpool.

Says Morven: "One of my favourite things about being on tour is unexpectedly seeing wonderful people you haven't bumped into for a while."

In Liverpool she will be seeing relatives.

"I am planning to spend some time off going for lunch and enjoying a walk around Sefton Park.

"I am Glasgow based and there are strong similarities between the two cities."

Morven Macbeth concludes by saying with infectious enthusiasm at being a core member of Imitating the Dog that the whole company is enjoying reaching out to new audiences today.

And also - very importantly - offering a new perspective using a combination of live performance and digital technology.

A compelling production with more than a beating heart.

Heart of Darkness is at the Liverpool Playhouse from May 1- 4. Tickets from the box office on 0151 709 4776.